Review: When I Was Small by Sara O’Leary


When I Was Small by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Henry asks his parents what they were like when they were small.  The book starts out normally enough with his mother explaining that she was called Dot because her full name, Dorothea, was too big for her.  But then things get creative!  Dot was so small she wore the same shoes as her doll.  She swam in the birdbath.  She jumped rope with a piece of yarn.  Her bed was a mitten.  Her father built her a doll house, and she lived in it.  At the end of this story from his mother, the two of them agree that one of the reasons that his mother looked forward to growing up was to share stories with a child of her own. 

O’Leary writes with a quiet joy that infuses the entire book.  There is a gentle playfulness throughout and children will immediately know that this is a story being told and not the truth.  Morstad’s illustrations have a delicacy to them that works particularly well with the more tall tale parts of the story.  The illustrations have a sweetness to them that make me think of the old Golden Books.  They are never saccharine thanks to their whimsy.

This is the third in the series about Henry, but the first one that I have read.  The first book in the series won the 2007 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award in Canada, so that one is definitely worth seeking out too.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from pdf received from Simply Read Books.

You can also view the trailer below:

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts that you might find interesting:

You can check out the items I’ve shared about libraries and social networking on my other blog, Sites & Soundbytes.

9 Ways to Keep Reading in Summer from Being a Bummer | Lifetime Moms #reading #kidlit

(Almost) Everything I Need to Know About History, I Learned From YA Novels | The Hub #yalit

BBC News – Teachers’ concern over reading for pleasure #reading#kidlit

Bedtime stories: 6 children’s books best read out loud – Father’s Day Guide – #kidlit

The Best Young Adult Novels? You Tell Us : NPR #yalit

Building Up Your Book Muscle – The Book Whisperer

Dystopias for Grown-ups – Library Journal Reviews – what to read after you finish Hunger Games

Flavorwire » 10 Important Life Lessons We Learned from Children’s Books #kidlit

Flavorwire » Incredible Pop-Up Books for Grown Ups

Gossamer Obsessions: The Importance of Being Nice – Book Blogger as Critic not Promoter –

Names & Cultural Identities in Stories of Immigrant Children | kidworldcitizen #kidlit

Non-Traditional Families Book Banning Bonanza « Blogging Censorship #kidlit

Penelope Harper’s top 10 great grandpa books | Children’s books | #kidlit

PW Talks with Gordon Korman #kidlit

Reading Rainbow is Back: Can it Do for the iPad What it Did for TV? #kidlit

The Search for Distinguished by the great KT Horning — The Horn Book #kidlit

squeetus: The self-publishing paradox; or, why I love my editor #writing

Summer Reading Resources A to Z « Imagination Soup | Fun Learning and Play Activities for Kids #reading#kidlit

Teenage Brain: Gateway To A ‘Bright And Dark’ World : NPR #yalit

Teenagers deserve better says Patrick Ness I definitely agree!

Unshelved Interview with Faith Erin Hicks #yalit

Where are the stay-at-home dads in children’s books? – The Globe and Mail

Why it’s OK that some children think Aslan is a giraffe | Books | #kidlit

YA Pride: 2012 LGBT YA Books, April-June | Malinda Lo #yalit